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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Things to Know About Defensive Coordinator Mark Duffner

The Bucs’ new defensive coordinator has 46 years of coaching experience under his belt, 22 of which have been in the NFL. Here’s five fast facts about Coach Duffner, including an initial career path that had nothing to do with football.  

The Bucs elevated Bucs' linebackers coach Mark Duffner to defensive coordinator on Monday, replacing Mike Smith. Duffner has been coaching the middle level of the defense for the past three seasons and though his players know him well, you may not. Get to know the Bucs' new defensive coordinator with five quick facts.

1. Coach Duffner has been in these DC shoes before. He served as the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2001-2002 after he coached the linebackers there from 1997-2000. In all, Duffner has 22 years of NFL experience starting in Cincinnati. From there, he went on to the Green Bay Packers (2003-2005), coaching linebackers under three different defensive coordinators before he went to Jacksonville from 2006-2013, then Miami from 2014-2015 before settling in with the Bucs in 2016.

2. During his days as the linebackers coach in Jacksonville, Duffner worked under Mike Smith for his first two seasons in 2006 and 2007 before Smith departed to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Starting in 2007, Bucs' current head coach Dirk Koetter was the offensive coordinator for the Jags and remained in the role until the 2012 season. Bucs' Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken was also in Jacksonville during that time, serving as the team's wide receivers coach from 2007-2010. Another familiar face was also on the defensive line as a player during a few of those years. Assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer was a part of that Jags defense, playing defensive end in Jacksonville from 2000-2008.

3. Before Duffner made it into the NFL, he was a longtime college coach, beginning as a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1975. He became he defensive coordinator at Cincinnati in 1977 and held that post until 1980 before going to the Patriot League's Holy Cross to serve in the same capacity. He was made head coach of the Crusaders in 1986 and won five Patriot League championships and the No. 1 ranking in the final 1987 NCAA Division I-AA poll. He was named Patriot League Coach of the Year four times while also earning National Coach of the Year honors in 1987 and 1991. His .917 (60-5-1) winning percentage at Holy Cross was the best in both school and Patriot League history when he left the program. He went on to become the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins in his final four seasons before jumping to the NFL.

4. Duffner's football roots are as a player, on defense of course. His football career started as a defensive lineman at William & Mary, from 1972-1974. He was inducted into the Tribe Hall of Fame in 1990. Funnily enough, it was a career that almost wasn't. Duffner had initially grown up thinking he wanted to enter the priesthood. Football, along with his discovery of girls in high school, changed that and he ended up finding his true calling instead as a football coach. The rest is history.

5. Duffner, affectionately known as 'Duff' to his players and staff, is originally from Annandale, Virginia. He is married to his wife, Kathy, and they have two daughters, Christine and Carolyn, and one son, John, along with two granddaughters, Camila and Ava.

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